I’ve spent quite a bit of time this evening defending Mike Matheny’s decision to let Lance Lynn start this game over Shelby Miller or Joe Kelly. And I don’t usually find myself in the position of defending Matheny, either. In the end, it didn’t work out for the Cardinals as Lynn struggled through the game, allowing 5 earned runs over 4.1 innings of work. The main complaint being that Lynn can’t be relied upon because he isn’t mentally tough and he’s been killed by the Pirates all season.
While I can’t speak to the former, I can understand why it would be an issue, especially when your offense thought it was a night game. The latter is definitely true. Lance Lynn has been killed by the Pirates this season. The Pirates hit .283/.371/.505 against him this season. For a reference, that’s like if every hitter in the Pirates lineup were Matt Adams (.284/.335/.503). And well, that’s certainly not good for a pitcher.
But Miller wasn’t much better. The Pirates hit him with a line of .321/.396/.679 this season. I don’t have a good comparable to that because that slugging percentage is higher than Miguel Cabrera‘s (who led all of baseball in slugging). In fact, if that was a player he would have finished 5th in batting average, 9th in on base percentage, and 1st in slugging percentage. We’d be talking about an MVP candidate. Continue reading
Mike Matheny announced today that Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn will start games one and two, respectively, of the National League Divisional Series. The Cardinals are home in St. Louis where they await the winner of tonight’s NL Wild Card between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. It represents a change in the order of the rotation as we enter the playoffs as Lynn had been scheduled to start on days preceding Wainwright’s turn in the rotation.
There’s been some surprise that the Cardinals announced their starters early, ahead of finding out who they will play in Thursday afternoon’s game one.
Wainwright, 32, finished up the season with a 19-9 record and a 2.94 ERA. He led the league in wins, starts (34), complete games (5), shutouts (2), innings pitched (241.2), and batters faced (856). He is the ace of the Cardinals rotation and they had previously moved him to make his last start on Saturday so that he could start game one on regular rest. Wainwright is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his last five starts. Continue reading
On Sunday afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals put the finishing touches on their 2013 campaign that saw them finish with a 97-65 record, good for best in the National League. For a team that spent most of the first half of the season in that position before floundering through the midsummer, it was a happy ending.
The team, however, will enter postseason play for the tenth time in the last fourteen seasons with about as many questions as answers. Here are three important questions that the team will need to find answers to if the franchise’s 12th World Series title is in the cards.
Who will be the postseason closer?
After the preseason injury to closer Jason Motte who led the league with 42 saves in 2012, the team began looking for a new one this spring. Last year’s setup man Mitchell Boggs was unable to settle into the role which opened up the competition. Then last year’s trade deadline acquisition and seventh inning man, Edward Mujica stepped into the role and made it his own, posting a 1.72 ERA, a 0.78 WHIP, and 35 saves in 37 chances from when he took over the position until the end of August. He even got an All Star nod of his own for his work.
But some late season struggles that included being shut down for a week in September for elbow fatigue has opened the door to questions about his health and who will close for the team. Mujica struggled to the finish in 2013 with an 11.05 ERA in his 7 1/3 innings of work and the league hitting over .500 against him. Continue reading
After an offseason of uncertainty around Adam Wainwright’s future with the Cardinals, the team put that to rest today, introducing Wainwright’s new deal. The team’s number one pitcher put ink on a reported 5 year, $97 million extension that will keep the 31 year old righthander in Cardinal red through 2018. He’ll be 37 the next time he’s scheduled for free agency.
The deal means that he’ll keep pitching to the guy pictured with him, Yadier Molina, for at least the next five years. Molina signed his own five year extension last offseason now making it two years in a row the team has sealed up it’s biggest pending free agent to a longterm extension, spoiling the thoughts of those who figured letting Albert Pujols walk was a sign of things to come for the team.
The new deal will pay Wainwright $19.5 million per year in average annual value and begin in the 2014 season. When you consider the deals that top caliber pitching have been getting in free agency, you have to think that Wainwright left an awful lot on the table in negotiations. The opinion of many is that if he were to turn in a Wainwright-like season this year, he could have easily grabbed $23-25 million per year in free agency. Continue reading
“It’s going to be long,” he said. “It’s going to be expensive.”
That was a quote from John Mozeliak in regards to an extension for Cardinals’ starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. News about a potential extension for the team’s star pitcher started coming out over the weekend at the annual Winter Warmup festival.
The two sides began preliminary discussions near the end of last season and have continued to have a dialogue during the offseason. Mozeliak has come across positive about the results of the talks, saying that they haven’t had either side drawing a line in the sand. The discussion around it come in stark contrast to the last big renewal the Cardinals had come up for Albert Pujols.
Wainwright even publicly admitted that he decided to wait on closing the deal until the early part of this year, saying that seeing how free agency played out for other guys on the market wasn’t going to hurt his case. It didn’t. Zack Grienke signed a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth $26 million per year, further elevating his open market price tag. Continue reading
When I think about the greatest Cardinals’ pitcher of the last decade, my mind immediately goes to Chris Carpenter. I think most Cardinals’ fans’ minds would too. Over the last decade, when number 29 was on the mound you knew he was going to give it everything he had in the tank. If there was just one single ounce of greatness left in him, he was going to find it and use it. It was this same gritty determination that Carpenter used to give the Cardinals their eleventh World Series championship in 2011.
He spent nearly all of the 2012 season paying for it.
A rib later and here was Carpenter, using everything he had to make a miraculous September return. He wasn’t bad either. His record may reflect a 0-2 record with a 3.71 ERA in his three September starts, but he followed it up with a 2.63 ERA in three playoff starts. Unfortunately he was the victim of 6 unearned runs in the NLCS against the Giants that resulted in a 1-2 playoff record for him. Carpenter showed he was close, but he still wasn’t perfect.